It’s so cold even a polar bear needs a coat.
That’s what I’m thinking as I exit Kroger with my one bag and every intention of sprinting to the car, jumping in and cranking the heat.
Then I see the woman and my plans change.
The old woman’s thinning white hair blows high in the wind as she hunches deeper into her coat. She lifts one bag from her cart and places it in her truck before turning to pick up another. She moves at a painstakingly slow pace. I worry by the time she gets all the bags in the back she won’t need to worry about the weather. It’ll be spring.
I’ve learned this year that many people are reluctant to accept help from a stranger. Sometimes you need to not ask. Give them the easy way out. Put it back on you. Just do.
“It’s freezing out here,” I smile. “Let me help you get these bags in the truck so you can get in the car faster!” I pick up a bag and place it gently in her truck. The lady stops and turns her head towards me.
“I’m putting your eggs and bread here in the back so they don’t bump anything,” I say. I want her to know I’m being careful. She stands statue still with her bag and stares.
In less than a minute, her groceries are loaded.
“I’m going to take this cart,” I tell her, pushing her cart to the corral. “Now get in that warm car!” I call over my shoulder.
The woman looks a little stunned. I’m sure she thinks what in heavens name just happened?
She smiles and gives me a small wave by which time I’m in my own car with the heat turned high.
Everything happened faster than you can say random act of kindness.